10 Useful Winter Car Care Tips
As it starts to get much colder now it's important to take precautions to protect yourself as well as you vehicle on the road. Take a look at the tips below and start preparing ahead of time.
2. Make sure you check your oil
Your oil levels should be between the minimum and maximum mark on you car's dipstick. To find out how to check the dipstick click here
If the oil level is too low this can lead to a breakdown or even further engine damage to the vehicle. You should check the oil level once the vehicle is warmed up, as the cold could make the car appear to be low on oil. It's also worth noting that too much oil can be bad for the car too.
2. Check your fuel and don't chance it
Make sure there's enough fuel in your vehicle. This should be a priority anyway, but don't try and stretch out those few miles if your fuel light comes on. You're better off being warm in your car with plenty of fuel rather than being stranded and freezing on the side of the road.
3. Keep your lights clean
Your vehicle will get very dirty during the winter months. So it is important to make sure your lights are clean and still visible. You can loose up to 40% of luminosity in about 20 miles on a damp, gritted motorway, according t road safety charity IAM RoadSmart. It's also a good idea to clean your REG plate to avoid a fine.
4. Look out for warning lights
In recent surveys it's shown that many drivers are unaware of what the warning lights mean on their dashboard. Whilst the Winter season comes to full affect, it's worth keeping yourself aware of what the warning lights mean and make sure you get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible.
5. Assess your tyres
Having worn tyres are dangerous regardless, but even more so during icy, snowy and wet conditions as your stopping distance in diminished rapidly. Tyres need to have minimum tread depth of 1.6mm by law, but winter experts recommend that you change the tyres at 3mm to maintain safe stopping distances
6. Check your wiper blades and top up your screen wash
Make sure your wipers are in good conditions and are able to clean the screen properly. You can give them a wipe with a clean cloth every now and then. Don't pull the wipers off frozen glass or turn them on if the screen is iced over, as the rubber may tear.
You'll definitely need plenty of washer fluid too. During the Wintery and muddier months, you'd be surprised at how often you'll need to clear your screen.
It's also illegal to have an empty washer bottle so make sure it is topped up.
7. Top up your antifreeze
Antifreeze prevents the water in the cooling system from freezing, so ensure this is topped up.
The coolant should be changed every 2-5 years, depending on the car and the type of coolant required.
8. Check if you're due a service
This is important to check all year-round, however it's more urgent transitioning into Winter.
A service is recommended every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever occurs first. But every vehicle is different, so please check your owner's handbook for the recommended service schedule. To book a service with us click here
9. Check your brakes
Your brakes are extremely important and need to be kept in pristine condition especially during Winter.
If they squeak or start making unusual noises or generate strange vibrations, get them checked at your nearest Hartwell dealership. If you are taking you r vehicle out after a few days unused, make sure you set off carefully in case the discs,callipers or handrbrake have frozen up due to the cold weather.
10. Check you've got the right tools
Make sure you are carrying the following items in your car during the colder periods:
- Ice scrapper and de-icer
- Warning triangle
- Warm clothing and a blanket, rug or sleeping bag
- Practical footwear e.g. wellies
- Torch and batteries
- Mobile phone and charger
- Shovel (in snowy conditions)
Article written by Marketing Executive: Eleanor Sanmogan